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Letís Use the Combat Tracker Effect Visibility Options Extension

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EVOE Demands Better Role Playing

This is one in a series of Combat Tracker EVOE blog posts. The series index can be found here.

Iím going to detour a little from my usual this time and talk about how EVOE asks more of me, the DM, in terms of role playing. My shortcomings became readily apparent this past weekend when our group play tested the next version of EVOE.

I have a great group; how could they not be: two of the players are my mid-twenty-year-old sons and a third is my brother. Iím hoping I keep my mental faculties long enough to see my grandson enter the D&D arena in about 10 years. The group knows I use EVOE and that at each session we might be play testing a new version.

The characters are currently working their way through Princes of the Apocalypse.
Very minor game spoiler: They encountered a group of specters. For those of you unfamiliar with specters, theyíre resistant or immune to just about all nonmagical damage. Based on background, one member of the party knew of this and shouted it out to the other characters.

The visibilities of the monstersí effects being GM only by default presented a perfect encounter to put EVOE through it paces. After the first few attacks by the party I asked each of the players to read to me exactly what appeared in their Chat Windows. Their curiosities then piqued, I related to them what damages had actually occurred and why. (Of course this little discussion would not have occurred outside of play test.)

I tend to let the numbers speak for themselves during combat, it helps move combat along more quickly. In this case though the numbers were lying. One of the players took exception to this. He was very diplomatic, explaining his understanding of how EVOE might enhance play but that without proper information his character could very well be fighting ďa castle wallĒ, believing heís making headway but in fact getting no where.

This could be remedied by taking away more information from the players by changing the game and combat options in the Options Manager Utility - an unpalatable solution in my opinion. After some discussion, we agreed upon a resolution: more description of damage rendered during the fray. This will of course slow down combat encounters as I endeavor to add descriptive flavor while trying to impart information to the players as to the attackís affect on their opponents.

Now, when dealing out damage due to a successful attack to a specter, not only does the player see a damage of 7, but I relate that the ďsweeping blow of the broad sword passes through his opponent, without any sort of resistance that one might expect, and that the specter didnít even flinchĒ. Or that the fire ball projected by the wizard ďsplashes upon the specterís chest, but passes through the creature, leaving a viewable sparkling trail not unlike the tail of a comet, and a howl of anger from the specterĒ.

Being a technical sort, I know Iíll never approach the descriptions that Matt Mercer offers up in his sessions on Geek & Sundry, but I do have to try to better myself and enhance my playersí experience in the game.

The Combat Tracker Effect Visibility Options Extension (EVOE) can be downloaded here.

This blog post was written using EVOE v0.2.0

Please feel free to post comments, questions and/or criticisms either here or in the forums.

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  1. MarianDz's Avatar
    Again nice "Blog-work" Minty.
    This is 9th part about EVOE and is great. Very good writen. :D Im fully satisfied.

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